Here are some of the great works of art featured at this year’s G-FEST!
Terror from Beyond the Daves is pleased to welcome guest writer, and winner of our “Hidden Horror Contest,” Mark Spangler!
Book Review: “The Monster Show”
By Mark Spangler
“All monsters are expressions or symbols of some kind of birth process, however distorted or bizarre.” So says David J. Skal in the opening sentence of chapter ten in his book “The Monster Show” (W.W. Norton & Company). Don’t let the name fool you. Like many a horror film (“I Married A Monster From Outer Space” comes to mind), there’s much more substance lurking behind the exploitative title than the name – or any name – could possibly indicate. The subtitle, “A cultural history of horror” is a much more accurate depiction of what the reader will find in these well-researched and analyzed 432 pages. From a fun-filled exploration of teen-oriented films on the 50’s drive-in circuit to an examination of the role that horror film escapism played in helping to digest the real-life calamities of 20th century war, this book runs the gambit from the terrific terrors of the silver screen to a common-sense analysis of why these motion pictures are not only fun, but of vital importance to the culture. No stop is ignored in this horrific journey and we joyfully ride along with Mr. Skal as he explores the brilliance and tragedy of director Tod Browning’s early film work, the European influence on early-American horror cinema, freakshow biographies, , monster-comedy, and two monster kid classics; “Famous Monsters of Filmland” and Aurora model monster kits (I had the Mummy). We also visit the artistry of make-up professionals throughout the history of the film industry, reflect upon the horror-inspired artwork of Diane Arbus, visit the late and beloved Forrest J. Ackerman in his “Ackermansion”, examine technical tidbits of films old and new and finally end up with the real-life terrors of HIV, the Gulf War and Oprah.
There are so many movie guides out there today that it is really difficult at times to choose which ones we should buy. They range in quality from very good (like Bill Warren’s “Keep Watching The Skies“) to dreadful (like Rob Craig’s “It Came From 1957“) but at least one thing can be said, movies from the 1950’s are getting more coverage than ever. When it comes to movies, my favorites all came from the 1950’s. No other time period has been more prolific when it comes to monster and science fictions films. Though many of these films are now considered classics, there were many stinkers as well. At least most of these stinkers have their own charm and are still fun to watch even today. The book I am reviewing today, “You Won’t Believe Your Eyes: A Front Row Look at the Sci-Fi/Horror Films of the 1950s“, by Mark Thomas McGee and R.J. Robertson, covers these movies in a way not really seen before, which is why I highly recommend it.
Movie Review: BENEATH Is Much Deeper Than Just A Monster Movie (And That Is Not Necessarily A Good Thing)
I have been reading about this film for some time now, both in Fangoria and HorrorHound magazines. For the most part the reviews have been favorable and I am always up for a new monster movie. This is not your typical monster on the loose film and to be honest, I wish it was. The movie I am talking about is BENEATH, directed by Larry Fessenden.
I hope everyone’s been enjoying Terror Dave Albaugh’s retrospective on ’50s Science fiction films. I know he’s got a lot more in the works and has been doing a great job at highlighting those old classics many of us grew up watching via Creature Features or horror hosted shows. The hope is that the series will either inspire you to watch them again or, if you’re unfamiliar, discover these gems for the very first time.
Today I’d like to spotlight an old sci-fi film too but, unlike the previous entries, one that proves not everything in the fabulous ’50s was stellar. The other night I was scrolling through the latest offerings on Netflix stream when I came across a film I hadn’t seen since I was a kid. The movie is Beast with a Million Eyes but, after I re-watched it, was ready to the curse the two I had!
Welcome to another edition of “Alien Invasion Films of the 1950s!” I was excited when Terror Dave Albaugh asked me to guest author today’s selection as it happens to be one of my favorites…and often disregarded. I guess that’s to be expected when a film is pegged with a sensationalistic moniker designed to attract 1958 teenagers like I Married a Monster from Outer Space, but don’t let it fool you. This movie is one of the genre’s best entries and absolutely worth watching regardless of its tabloid title.
In my short but proud Terror Dave history, I have NEVER been this behind with coverage. These shots from G-FEST XX’s art room should have been posted months ago but somehow got lost in a “draft” folder instead. “sigh” oh well, it’s not like Godzilla fandom has an expiration and it can be argued that 2014 is really more his year anyway. So please enjoy these homemade creations that were showcased at the 2013 event.
The sky’s always the limit when it comes to Godzilla-inspired creativity. But don’t take my word for it…see for yourself!
Growing up, like every other kid, the weekends were times to look forward to and cherish. There were Saturday morning cartoons, pro-wrestling and weekend monster movie shows to look forward to. Before cable and stations like the Cartoon Network, there were only certain times we could enjoy cartoons and shows geared towards us kids. Sure we could watch UHF stations during the afternoon after school but it was Saturday mornings, on the three major networks, that we looked forward to the most. In addition to the latest offerings of animated bliss, we were also treated to some live action fare, usually thanks to Sid & Marty Krofft. Shows like LAND OF THE LOST, DR. SHRINKER and SIGMUND AND THE SEA MONSTERS stand out to many of today’s monster kids. On occasion though, there were some live action offerings outside of the Sid & Marty Krofft shows, that also stand out as fun and memorable. 1975 was one year that had one of these shows, called THE GHOST BUSTERS.
Let me start by saying that I really wanted to like “It Came from 1957.” It had everything going for it; it covers one of my favorite subject matters and it is put out by one of the greatest publishing houses that releases horror and science fiction movie guides, McFarland & Company, Inc. All I can say is that this book was one big disappointment despite its potential.
“We need you to go help Santa.”
It was the last thing I wanted to hear as I strolled into the volunteer office of Brookfield Zoo the Sunday before Christmas. I’d been employed there back in the late ‘90s but, after a few years of discovering the elephants weren’t the only ones working for peanuts, decided to seek a job elsewhere. This should not, however, imply that I have any ill feelings towards the place, in fact it’s quite the opposite. I’ve loved animals since I was a kid and, growing up in Chicago, this was the place that helped cultivate that. I believe in the zoo’s message as well as its conservation work which is why it was only a matter of months before I’d return as a docent and remain one ever since. Usually volunteering entails talking to the zoo’s visitors about animals but, every once in awhile, you’re asked to do something different. Helping out with their Santa Claus event would be a prime example of that.
Terror from Beyond the Daves is pleased to announce the return of The Horror Host Report! Yes, back when this blog was relatively new we set out to do what no one else had…create an all-inclusive weekly update of what the world’s horror hosts (commercial TV, public access, internet) were up to. It proved to be one of our most popular features and both Terror Daves enjoyed working with all the hosts immensely. Through the report, many of the participants also became personal friends and we had nothing but positive experiences with them during its nearly three-year run.
The 50’s will go down in history as the greatest decade of all time for science fiction films. During this 10 year period we were introduced to Godzilla, Rodan, giant insects and arachnids and of course every type of alien being bent on invading Earth imaginable. It truly was a great time to be a fan of not only movies, but of science fiction. Some of these films were great; some not so great. The one thing they all had in common though was great imaginations at a time where Hollywood was chock full of original ideas.
This is part four of my ongoing series covering the alien invasion films of the nineteen fifties. In the past I have reviewed THE MAN FROM PLANET X (see HERE), THE DAY THE EARTH STOOD STILL (see HERE) and one of my all time favorites, THE THING FROM ANOTHER WORLD (see HERE). Now I am here to review another great addition, INVADERS FROM MARS.
I have always loved werewolf films, perhaps even more than vampire films. There is just something about a creature that completely transforms from human to beast and then tears its victims to pieces. The problem with werewolf films is that in my experience, they are either really good or they just suck. Here I present to you a variety of werewolf films to satisfy anyone’s shape-shifting needs.
To me there are two types of lycanthropic films; the werewolf and the wolf man. Werewolf films feature monsters that look nothing like their human counterparts whereas wolf men retain some of the characteristics of the human form and in most cases. still wear the clothes that were worn before the transformation. This blog is about werewolves.
2013 marked G-FEST (Godzilla Festival’s) 20th gathering and I’d attended faithfully the last ten. Of all the conventions I’ve gone to, this one always has a special place in my heart because it gave me so many happy memories with my kids (as I tearfully explained once HERE). Not to mention, Godzilla fans are really more like family than just fellow enthusiasts which makes it more like an annual reunion as opposed to Expo. Unfortunately, the July weekend it took place this year couldn’t have presented more of a challenge for me as my Friday & Saturday was booked solid with events I was locked into attending.
From skeletons to zombies, if there’s one thing we can take away from a visit to MASK-FEST it’s that death is anything but the end!
During the Halloween season, I’ve always been partial to the mom and pop costume shops. For one thing, I like to support the little guy but, for another, they also tend to carry less of the mass produced products bigger chains do. Unfortunately those stores are becoming a rarity thanks, in large part, to chains such as Spirit Halloween and Halloween Town.
It really amazes me these days how certain movies are able to be made and get distributed even though they’re horrible and yet certain films, that are really good and original, can’t get a distribution deal to save its life! This was the case with Trick r Treat from 2007, a phenomenal Halloween-themed movie that took a good two years to see the light of day. It happened again just recently with the film The Black Waters of Echo’s Pond; a movie made in 2009 that just got released this month…four years later!
Next to where the cast members of THE THING reunion were signing, was the amazing THING-FEST! This private collection owned by super-fan, Joe Hart, would feature the largest acquisition of props and memorabilia from the 1982 John Carpenter classic.
Though born and raised in New Jersey (a childhood friend of Kevin Smith), Hart now resides with his wife in Canada. What makes him so exceptional isn’t simply that he’s a fan who’s amassed lots of amazing goods, but that he’s one who willingly shares them with the rest of us. He does this utilizing his own time and resources and, in doing so, enhances the overall experience for everyone; something never more evident than at the Days of the Dead Indianapolis!
I am constantly looking for new monster movies to watch, hopefully enjoy and then add to my movie collection. Unfortunately, more often than not, these films end up being comparable to a Syfy Channel movie of the week (in other words, it sucks). Thankfully, every once in awhile one comes along that stands out. Such is the case with the 2012 release of GRABBERS.
Like most conventions, the 2013 Indianapolis Days of the Dead was spread across several large rooms at the hotel. Russ and I left the beautiful Jordan Ladd (a meeting covered in my last chapter) and embarked on what was to be the first of many walk throughs (which is why you’ll see us wearing different clothes in this post) of the dealer’s room. There were actually two main rooms designated for dealers, with some located out in the adjoining hallways. Although there were other guests we planned on meeting, they were located in one of these areas as opposed to the one exclusive to celebs
Since I was a kid I have been a fan of kaiju films. Every Saturday afternoon I would sit in front of the television set watching that week’s installment of the Creature Double Feature, as they showed such great films as Rodan, War Of The Gargantuas, Frankenstein Conquers The World and a whole variety of Godzilla and Gamera films. Yes they were cheesy but they were also a lot of fun and they are one of my fondest memories growing up.